The warm weather absolutely makes a difference in the sourdough starter and the loaf.
Here is one of my finest loaves 🙂
I did not even think that it was possible or tasty, but I was wrong. Carrot jam is must to try 🙂
I was looking for an interesting jam/marmalade to try and it was the carrot jam that intrigued me. Thanking bloggers out there who have posted their recipes. I improvised my recipe and I am very pleased with the end result.
Addition of orange to this jam kind of masks the “veggie” smell/taste of carrot. Next time I want to try it with some nuts, like walnut, for a much tastier and crunchier version.
I have been meaning to try a new pickle recipe and decided to try pickled eggs 🙂
After a search on the internet, I improvised the following recipe:
They say we should wait a few days, if not a week, but I am leaving it to you to try 🙂
Since my brine was more than what the pickled egg jar would take, I decided to try parsnip and carrot pickle. I sliced 3 small parsnip and one mid-size carrot, boiled in the brine for 2 min or so, added 3 grated garlic and 1 tsp of chili pepper in a jar – cannot wait to try this one. My first parsnip pickle trial 🙂 As you can see my brine was too much, but I will take it 🙂
The other day I tried some kind of soft and large pasta.
I added 3 cups of all purpose flour, 2 tbs olive oil, 1 tbs salt (use less – mine was too salty), 1 tbs of baking powder, and 1 egg, and formed a shaggy dough.
I then let it rest for an hour at room temperature. After that, I did knead it for a minute or so (it comes around pretty neatly) and rolled using a rolling pin at a desired thickness, cut in stripes, cooked in boiling water for 5-6 minutes, and took aside.
On a hot frying pan, I added vegetable oil, black bean and soya sauce, let boil for one or two minutes, added the cooked pasta, and mixed for a few minutes.
It was soft and very tasty 🙂
I was trying to find the ways to reduce the proofing time lately: one thing I have tried in the last two weeks is proofing the dough in an oven (not turned or warmed up; no lights , either) to see whether this relatively temperature-wise stable environment would help reduce it.
This dough was only proved for 3 hours (in contrast to my usual 4-6 hours proofing). It was almost flat when I placed it on the parchment paper and scored. But there was a great oven spring (just like last week), so it turned out to be just lovely.
I think the in-oven proofing helped. I also think that maybe in the past I was over-proofing my dough..
Of course, the hydration levels of the dough makes a difference in terms of the yeast activity – this was a slightly sticky dough. This may be another reason for the short proof time working with this loaf.
In any way, I am just happy to have this loaf 🙂
Isn’t it beautiful 🙂
This was the first time that I tried 3 hours of proofing. When I took it out of the shaping bowl and scored, the dough was almost flat. But in the oven it showed a great oven spring and one of the largest air pockets I have ever seen. It even cracked itself on top even though I had slashed it, which tells me that yeast really worked hard this time.
Will continue like this – it has been a great experiment.
Yours truly tried yet another food preservation attempt, this time using whole clementines.
The recipe is inspired from a recipe of my mom.
*at this point clementines should be softened and if you press lightly they should feel plump
Bon appetite! 🙂
Butternut squash dessert
I found a nice butternut squash the week before. My original aim was to make a hearty soup, but I decided in the last moment to make a dessert with it.
here is the recipe:
*I have had around 1 liters of the liquid, which is yummy. Drink it as it is, or use less water
**You can bake longer to thicken the liquid
My sourdough today was kind of sticky dough and as a result did not keep it shape well. But there was oven spring and it looks great 🙂
I wanted to cheer myself up with two new recipes; radish pickle and frozen strawberry marmalade.
It turns out I bought extra packs of radish, so why not to try pickling it? An adventure for me and a chance of limiting food waste. I think it will turn out to be right.
Frozen strawberry marmalade, on the other hand, turned to the dark side right at the end. I decided I could boil the jars to help preserve them. I was wrong – the pot was not deep enough. Then, I turned them upside down to sterilize at least the neck of the jars, and one or two of the jars leaked somehow. Goodness help me…..I aborted the attempt. Sadly, these marmalade will go to garbage now. Nevertheless, I am posting the recipe here because there was a 1/4 cup of the marmalade I had in a jar that I did not attempt to water-can and it is delicious. At least I have got 1/4 cup of it!!! 🙂
Boil the brine (vinegar and water); add sugar and salt – mix
place the diced radish, jalapenos, grated garlic in clean jars (mine were 750 ml jars; it made 2 jars)
add 2 cups of brine or as much as the jar can take
close the lid and secure the rings. Must be ready in a week or so
*added the next day: as being a pickle person, I could not help and try this pickle the next day. To my surprise it was ready and it was hot – thanks to jalapenos. If you are looking for a quick type of pickle, this is a must to try 🙂
Frozen strawberry marmalade
place the strawberry on a container and mix with the sugar; wait for 1 hour util strawberry starts to release its juice, mix every once a while
add the remaining ingredients and bring to boil at medium heat (takes around 15 min)
boil for 15 min and then lower the heat to medium and boil an additional 30 min. It must reduce at the end
remove the scum and pour down the marmalade in sterilized jars (I boiled them for 15 min together with the rings. Lids were placed in hot water); leave around 1/2 inch room
clean the rims of the jars, place the lids, and secure the rings.
if you can pressure-can or water-can, you can keep these for some time. But if you are like me and cannot do this for some reason, then keep it as it is at the fridge and consume within weeks.
I hope you will be able to enjoy these recipes! 🙂
Here is a fantastic sourdough with a hint of trolled oats and black olives 🙂
This loaf was my first trial of a rectangular shape 🙂 I learnt a while ago that sticky dough do not keep its shape well if does not have enough support. So I used one of my oven pots to prove and bake this loaf.
I would do this loaf again; the crust was thin and soft (the way I love it) and it tasted amazing!
The recipe is similar to others:
Today’s sourdough loaf has turned out to be another happy one with a great oven spring and happy smile 🙂
Yours truly continues to explore the world of jamming!
I wanted to try berry jam this time and found raspberries on sale the other day – how lucky I am?
Part inspired from others on the internet, part improvised, here is my frozen raspberry marmalade recipe 🙂
Bon appetite! 🙂
I literally craved for this since yesterday 🙂
I followed the recipe here with the exception of baking at 350F for 40 min, adding 2 jalapeno peppers (de-seeded and cut), and using corn flour (fine).
My verdict is that it is an easy and delicious bread that can be readied in an hour.
It was a little bit sweet for a bread, but it was not annoying. I would maybe add some more sugar next time to make it like a cake 🙂
Jalapenos could have been lightly cooked prior to adding to the mix, but overall that was one great bake today! 🙂
My jam-making saga continues!
PS; peels give a bitter taste to jam if the sugar content is not high enough. feel free not to use them. I love rinds because of their texture giving a lovely contrast 🙂
Here is my second ever jam trial and first ever orange jam 🙂
I was mostly inspired by the recipe here, with minor changes.
Put the peels on vinegar-water. After 1 hour or so, take out the peels and remove the white coat as much as possible. I found that putting the peels in water helps remove it with the help of a knife. It is not an easy task, but doable. After that, place the peels on a cutting board with inside up and use the knife the scrap the coat – it is surprisingly easy this way.
I washed the jars, rings, and lids in washing machine. Then placed in an oven at 220F for around 40 min in order to kind of sterilize
Verdict: It was somehow too sweet for me, so feel free to use less sugar, but otherwise, yummy :). I love the peels making a contrast with soft orange. I did not water or pressure canned it, so preserve it in the fridge and consume within weeks.
And I present you my first ever fig jam’s recipe 🙂
One of my friends gifted me with 2-pounds of dried Turkish fig a couple of months ago – yum yum yum 🙂 I have been meaning to make jam with it and today was that day, my friends!
I have been inspired by many recipes on the internet, this one and this one particularly. I combined the general recipe of the first one (without the vanilla stuff) and the sesame seeds of the other, and voila here is my first ever dried fig jam!
I have got a great recipe from my mom which I am happy to share.
1. Peel the beets (I do that – many people boil beets in their skin, but I do remove them so that I can use the beet-water later) and chop
2. Put beet bits in boiling water and boil for 15-25 min. I like my pickles kind of crisp and not mushy; but you can adjust the boiling time as short or long as you please
3. Put the beets in jars that are clean and sterilized (I wash them in the dish washer and let the steam work on them. This time I also kept them at oven heated up to 212F (100C) for 20 min. I treated the rings the same. As per the lids, I only washed them in the dishwasher and then dried with paper towel)
4. Close the lids but do not tighten yet; let cool the beet-water
5. Brine: per 750 ml jar; peel and grate 3 mid-size garlic; add vinegar+beet water (1 in 4 ratio), 2 tbs of sugar and 1 tbs of salt. Mix well
6. Pour down the brine over the beets (around 1 1/3 cup brine/each jar), make sure it covers them. Close tightly and preserve the jars in the fridge or a cool place (mine are always on the kitchen counter; we have a cool climate and my kitchen is heated up to around 17C).
7. These pickles can be enjoyed immediately. Consume within a short time (2-4 weeks).
Because of my trips lately I had depleted my frozen bread stock. I feel a lot better when I have extra loaves at the freezer. Thus, I baked two sourdough today using the same recipe 🙂
They both turned out to be lovely! Thin crust and soft crumb, with a kick of salt and feeling very homey 🙂 The oven spring was way more powerful that I would imagine, as both loaves had sides cracked despite the fact that I had scored their surface 🙂 Something worked really well 🙂
The catch is that I had run out of bread flour, so I had to prepare the dough with all purpose flour. Now, I never have had a good rise with all purpose flour, even though I am in Canada (people says that Canadian all purpose flour is as good as the bread flour with high protein content…). That is why I thought I would add some oat or rye flakes to dough – my previous experience with these additions is that they make the yeast somehow happier and dough better and airy.
I managed to revive my sourdough starter from dried flakes! 🙂
The new one is very similar to previous one (that I accidentally used all in a loaf) and has had a great oven spring. Since it will be served to my guests tomorrow, I did not cut it up to see the crumb, but I am sure it is good.
I could not ask for a better one 🙂
While trying to revive my dried sourdough starter, here is the bread I have baked using the commercial yeast.
1/2 tbs yeast, 1 cup 2% milk, 1 cup water (warm milk and water together first), 2 tbs sugar; mix well and activate the yeast for 10 min (cover the bowl)
add 3 tbs salt, 9 cups of bread flour, mix and form a dough
cover and stretch and fold 3-4 times (around 20-30 min rest in between)
rest at fridge over night
in the morning. take the dough out and bring to room temp ~3 hours
shape the dough and rest 5 min
work on the shape of the dough, and place it in a bowl with clean cloth and sprinkled with generous amount of sun flower seeds
put in a large plastic bag and prove at room temp for 4 hours (in the last 30 min I put it in an oven warmed to 100F)
score and bake at a non-pre-heated oven at 375F for 45 min (oven on) and an additional 15 min (oven off)
take out, sprinkle some water over the loaf, and let cool down
PS: since this loaf is going to a friend of mine, I did not cut it out and hence I have no idea how the crumb is. But the oven spring was amazing and the fact that the loaf kept its round shape, I am hopeful that the crumb too is good 🙂
Here we go – the most interesting sourdough loaf I have ever baked!
What do you think?
I had seen a recipe here at wordpress once upon a time using beet (thanks whoever had posted it at that time). It always intrigued me and finally this weekend it was the time to give it a try.
My verdict; this is a very easy loaf to work with because wild yeast loves the beet (or anything else like carrots that provide some kind of nutrients and moisture to the dough/bread) and the colour is just amazing! It was a fluffy dough that rose pretty well. The proving step was also short (~5 hours at room temperature in my cool Canadian kitchen) – partly because of the hydration by the beet and partly because I tried to make it kind of sticky with less flour than usual. The crumb is open (one of the best, if not the best crumb I have seen lately) and it is soft and palatable. The only thing was that the smell of raw/baked beet somehow threw me away at the beginning. But the remedy is easy and available – butter, as usual, makes it perfect! 🙂
This being said, I think next time I will try it with raspberry and some more sugar!
Friday night: took the starter off the fridge and fed with whole wheat flour and water, wrapped in a towel and left at room temperature overnight
Saturday morning: fed the starter again and one hour later divided it into two portion: one portion went to fridge (starter) and the second portion left at room temp for 3 hours to flourish (to be used in the dough)
Saturday afternoon: added to 1 cup of starter, 2 tbs of sugar, and 1 cup of water. Grated 1 medium sized beet and added to the mixture. Then, added 2.5 cups of bread flour and 1.5 tbs of salt and mixed with a spoon. It formed a shaggy dough. After that I left for shopping, so only 5 hours later or so, I stretched and folded it once or twice before leaving it to rise at room temperature overnight (closed lid and covered with a towel)
Sunday morning: shaped on a generously floured work surface, let rest for 10 min and shaped again. I decided it was better if I proved it in an oven dish and directly baked it after proving. Hence, I placed the dough in the dish covered with parchment paper and put it in a nylon bag – that, I found a while ago, creates a green house effect and help dough prove faster
Sunday afternoon: After 5 hours of proving, turned the oven on (375F) and placed the dough in it. Baked for 45 min with oven on and then an additional 15 min with oven turned off.
Do not forget to cool down, admire, and enjoy it with butter and loved ones!
Bon appetite 🙂
Here is my baby today 🙂
This loaf is similar to others in making, only with an additional 2 tbs water to make it slightly sticky. During stretching and folding, the dough formed well and the stickiness has almost disappeared. I also did not add sugar to dough for the first time.
And, finally I am consuming the wild rice that I have had for some years!!!
I totally improvised this soup:
This is a very creamy and hearty soup because of the lentil and potato, and has a mixture of both soft and somewhat crunchy texture (the wild rice has a tough outer membrane)
Bon appetite! 🙂
I am excited to write this recipe 🙂
It gives a strong, slightly sticky dough that forms a great crust and very soft crumb (the softest I have seen in a sourdough). The carrots, I believe, help with the moist crumb and with a fairly good rise. I also believe that yeast loves the carrot (or carrot juice coming out of the grated pieces). In anyway, I suggest you give this loaf a try and see how you like it 🙂
1. Grate 4 mid-size carrots
2. Add 1.5 cups of sourdough levain to carrots (I fed 2/3 cups fridge-stored starter with 2/3 cups of whole wheat flour and 1/3 cup+1 tbs water and let rest over-night at room temperature. In the morning it was risen and bubbly. I fed it again two hours before I prepared the dough)
3. Add 1 cup water, 4 cups bread flour, and 1.5 tbs salt. Mix by hand or using utensils.
4. Leave at room temperature (covered) to rise: I had a social to attend, so left it for 4 hours and stretched and folded it twice in between.
5. Place in the fridge over-night
6. The next morning, take it out and rest at room temperature for around 1 hour
7. Shape the dough (I formed a baton today), cover with kitchen towel, and let rise for 1.5 hours
8. The last 20 min; pre-heat the oven and the roaster (if you are using one) to 375 F. Flip the loaf upside down on parchment paper
9. Score the surface, and bake in the roaster; 35 min closed lid and 25 min open lid. Turn off the oven and leave the loaf in the roaster/oven for an additional 1 hour (since this is a moist loaf, I found that this step helps with baking inside the loaf)
I tried one sourdough recipe with semolina flour this time. I was worried because it did not rise as much, but the oven spring was there as well as the air bubbles in the loaf 🙂
It contained 1 cup of levain prepared from my Monster sourdough starter, 1 cup of semolina flour, 1.5 cup of bread flour, and 1 cup of water and salt as desired. Minimal kneading at first; 6 stretch and fold every 30 min or so; and resting at the fridge overnight. The next day, I left it at room temperature for 2 hours; shaped, and proofed for 1 hour 15 min; baked at a preheated oven (at 400F) in a roaster (25 min closed lid and 25 min open lid).
Taste is somehow unusual, but the crust was rich and crumb was soft and quite palatable.
As usual, immediately enjoyed with the butter 🙂
While I love observing yeast and dough rise, collapse, and form bread, sometimes I am in love with the baking powder, too.
Because it gives quick results, like tea biscuits or fruit/nut loafs. After all, I am a lazy chef 🙂
I tried hazelnut and banana loaf today; totally improvised and totally worth it 🙂
This sourdough bread is mystical because I cannot remember how much water I added to the dough 🙂
Argh… Murphy’s law – this is a wonderful loaf and it would be awesome to replicate it in the future. Anyways, at least I remember how the initial dough felt; shaggy but not runny. Good…
This is my second sour dough bread trial using my Monster sourdough starter. The first one last week ended up being something beyond brick….. Something even stronger… Like steel or something….
This time, it is better. The crust was definitely chewy and inside was very soft. It could use more salt next time. By the way, with this loaf I started to believe in “oven spring”; this dough has doubled in size while in the oven. I could not be more enchanted right now 🙂
Bon appetite! 🙂
Levain: Activate the starter by feeding a night before and resting at room temperature over-night.
For this purpose, I mixed 1/2 cup of starter with 2/3 cup whole wheat flour and 1/2 cup of water in a bowl. Then, I transferred it in a clean jar, secured the lid with a clean kitchen towel and elastic band, and forgot till next morning.
*well… that is not true – I checked it many times during the night. Seeing it rising was magical 🙂 After all, I just had transferred it to fridge last week and this was the first time I tried to revive it back at room temperature 🙂
**basically, the starter I used for this levain is the portion of the starter that I am supposed to throw away while feeding the starter every week. Making no waste feels good 🙂
***it makes a stiff, not runny, levain
It must have at least doubled in size and have bubbles around the jar, indicating an active, robust starter.
1. Mix 1 cup of levain with 1/2 cup water in a bowl. Add 2 cups of bread flour and just enough water to make a shaggy and sticky dough. Cover and rest at room temperature for 4 hours
*the autolyse step is supposed to hydrate the flour and help develop gluten. At the end of this period, the dough should look a little bit swollen and possibly flattened out
2. Add 2 tps of salt and 2 tps of sugar to dough while still in the container and mix
3. Spread 1/3 cup of flour on a clean surface and place the dough on. Knead for 2-3 minutes lightly and add flour as needed.
*The dough should be fluffy, somewhat sticky but not too sticky
4. Place the dough in a clean container that has been brushed with vegetable oil. Turn the dough upside down to make sure it gets oil all over. Cover and let rest for 30 min
*vegetable oil helps with preventing the dehydration of the dough. i somehow feel like it also helps with the dough structure, but I have no convincing evidence for this yet (many people say that vegetable oil actually reduces the rising capacity)
5. Stretch and fold 4-5 times and let rest for 30 min covered
*this technique is supposed to be a good alternative to kneading. If you do not have a dough mixer or a bread machine and are using your hands to knead, you may want to give it a try
6. Stretch and fold for a total of 4 times and then rest the dough for a final 30 min
*I perform all these steps while the dough is still in the container with the help of a bench cutter
**by the way I use a large pot to mix the dough and for the fermentation/first rise. It is a very practical alternative. Just close the lid and cover with a blanket/thick towel or place in a warm place, like a warm oven, for the fermentation step
*** you will notice that the dough slightly rises/gets fluffier and develops some structure with each stretch and fold.
7. Take the dough on a lightly floured surface, spread with the help of your hands, and then fold over and shape. I made a round loaf. Cover and let rest there for 10 min.
8. Proofing: I used a bowl covered with a clean white fabric that had around 1 tbs of flour sprinkled to prevent the dough from sicking to it. I covered the dough and let proof for an hour
*they say sourdough does not rise as much as the commercial yeast, which in my experience was the case as well
9. 20 min before the end of the proofing step, pre-heat the oven to 400 F and place your roaster/dutch oven in
*I recently became a fan of using roasters to bake the bread. It provides good heat conductance and shortens the baking time. They say dutch ovens are even better. I bought a turkey roaster which is quite big. The advantage of it is that I can bake loafs with any shape; e.g. baton or boule. Not sure whether I can do this with a dutch oven – they usually looks small and suitable for boule only
10. Transfer the dough upside down on a parchment paper, score with sharp knife (around half an inch), and immediately place into the heated roaster
*dough was leveled down as soon as I scored it, which discouraged me. yet, the spring oven surprised me; the end product had risen and formed a lovely bread
11. Bake 30 min covered, and then an additional 20 min uncovered at 400 F
I try to bake every weekend to quench my interest in yeast and its activities, and to consume.
This week, I had planned a “left-over” bread that included the left-over green olives (they have been in my fridge for some time now) and the piece of the sourdough starter I was supposed to throw away yesterday (my starter was on its 5th day yesterday and quite a monster, I must say). Since I was inspired by a blog (which, sadly I cannot remember now), I also added poppy seeds to dough.
It was a dough that rested at the fridge over-night (I prefer this kind of dough – in my opinion it makes better breads).
Overall, the green olives were not enough and kind of got lost during the kneading/stretch and fold attempts. I do not know what to think about this now… Poppy seeds are okay and not overwhelmed the taste, which is pleasing. The dough had a slight sour taste – I am almost sure that it was not because of the starter but the olives, but I may as well be wrong. Crust was crispy while inside was soft and tasty.
I also experimented with the roaster I purchased a while ago to see whether baking bread in a container like roaster really makes a difference. I prepared two loaves from the same dough and baked one in a baking dish without a cover and another one in the roaster at the same time. In fact it does; the crust of the roaster-baked loaf was more browned and better looking. I may as well continue to bake breads in the roaster.
I seem to have shallow scoring cuts on the loafs. I will remember to make deeper cuts next time.
On a final note, parchment paper seems to be a baker’s best friend. If you do not have a roll, you may consider having one. It keeps everything clean and helps with not using vegetable oil, spray, or cornmeal that we would otherwise use in the oven dishes while baking.
1. Activate 1/2 teaspoon of dry yeast in 1.5 cups of warm water and 1 tablespoon of sugar by mixing all and resting at room temperature for 15 min (cover the bowl).
*Note that the amount of dry yeast is really low. I find that dough that rests at the fridge does not need a lot of yeast
2. When the yeast is activated, add 1/2 cup of sourdough starter, 2 cups of bread flour, 2 cups of whole wheat flour. Mix with spoon or hand and let rest at room temperature for 20 (the autolyse step)
3. Add 1/3 cup of green olives (you should add more if you are looking for an olive loaf), 1 tablespoon of salt, and 2 tablespoon of poppy seeds and knead on a clean, flour sprinkled surface for a couple of minutes to make sure the ingredients all mix.
4. take the dough in a clean, vegetable oil spread bowl (i use a pot) and let rest at room temperature for 30 min. After that do stretch-and-fold for a total of 4 times, each time with 30 min rest in between.
*this technique is supposed to eliminate the need for kneading and develop the gluten structure equally. Basically hold a corner of the dough, stretch it as far as you can and then fold it over the dough. repeat this with other corners of the dough (4-6). Turn the dough over so that the folded part lies at the bottom
**my experience with kneading is pretty conflicting. I cannot knead even though I know it would make my bread structure better. So I failed in today’s attempt too as the dough did not become a mature, elastic dough. That is why I decided to stretch-and-fold
***you will notice that over-time the dough becomes fluffy but not necessarily overly risen
5. Put in the fridge over-night. I left the dough in the fridge for a total of 12 hours and then let rest at room temperature for 2 hours
6. Take the dough out and spread over flour-sprinkled surface, degassing at the same time. Cut into two loafs, shape, and let rest on the bench for 15 min (covered)
*since the dough is not sticky, there is no need to add more flour than required
7. Re-shape if needed, cover, and proof for 1 hour 45 min at room temperature. I used a bowl to proof the round loaf and a cookie sheet for the baton/francala. Cover the loafs so that they will not dehdyrate and keep warm.
8. Pre-heat the oven to 400F (keep the roaster inside too). When the proofing is done, transfer the loafs in the oven dish (I used this for the round loaf with parchment paper at the bottom) and the pre-heated roaster.
9. Score the top of the loaf and bake for a total of 50 min; after the first 25t minute take the lid off the roaster.
My 4th attempt in sour dough starter seems to be the best so far 🙂
The Monster started to smell sour this morning and has been rising incredibly, especially after the feed today. 4 hours after the feeding today, I had to transfer it to a new, bigger jar as it had risen up to the lid and was ready to escape! :).
I could not be more excited! I hope that is what it is and it is really a sourdough starter, but not some weird micro-organismal activity.
Here is the chronicle of Monster:
Procedure: Mix in a bowl 2/3 cup whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup filtered water with the help of a fork. Transfer into a clean jar, cover top with a piece of fabric (clean and thin enough to allow air in/out), secure the fabric with the help of an elastic band around the lid, wrap the jar with a small towel (keep the lid part uncovered by the towel), place in a shelf away from the kitchen.
*There is no need to keep the starter away from the kitchen. I just have had pest problems lately, which prompted me to keep the starter away from their active areas.
**I started the starter in the evening around 6.30 pm. I tried to feed it everyday at around the same time.
***I decided to wrap the jar with a towel because I live in a relatively cold climate.
Observations: no apparent rise, a few tinny bubbles, smells like whole wheat – nothing exciting.
Procedure: Mix the starter with the help of a fork; take it out in a bowl and add 1/2 cup whole wheat flour and 1/3 cup of water. Mix all well with the help of a fork. Cover, wrap, and rest the jar/starter at its usual place.
*I made a mistake here. I was planning to add the same amount of flour and water as Day 1 but somehow got confused and ended up with smaller amounts added.
Observations: There was a slight rise, a few large bubbles, somewhat unevenly elated surface, and no distinct smell. There was liquid accumulated at the bottom of the jar.
*slight rise was promising 🙂
Procedure: Remove 1 cup starter. Add 2/3 cup whole wheat flour and 1/2 cup water in a bowl and mix well with fork. Add the remaining starter and mix everything. Transfer the mixture into the jar, cover, wrap, and rest as before.
Observations: There is ~0.5 cm rise in the starter – first measurable rise so far. There was no distinct smell and little, if ever, bubbles.
*I decided to take less starter out today, considering the fact that it was not flourishing. So I reduced it by 3/4 cup, rather than 1 cup.
**I forgot to take a photo before the feed today.
Procedure: Remove 3/4 cup starter out. Add 2/3 cup whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup water, and the remaining starter in a bowl. Mix well. Transfer the mixture into the jar, cover, wrap and rest as before.
*from today on, the starter become a less runny/batter-like. I prefer this kind of starters – my feeling is that it helps the yeast flourish better.
**I removed a smaller amount of starter today, as the remaining amount did not look enough to me.
Observations: When I checked it in the morning (yes, I have a habit of checking the starter 6-7 times a day – it is very exciting! 🙂 ), it had risen 2.5 x of its original height 🙂 It also smelled sour for the first time and there were many small bubbles and a slightly uneven surface.
In the evening, it had collapsed a little bit ( I think that is because had exhausted itself – definitely it is the time to feed.)
Procedure: Take 1/2 cup of starter out. Add 2/3 cup whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup of water, and the remaining starter in a bowl. Mix well. Transfer the mixture into the jar, cover, wrap and rest as before.
*I removed less starter today compared to previous days. I kind of improvise. Many people use standard measures/amounts and follow them every day, but I like to adjust things as they develop.
**I noticed that the starter does not have a smooth texture; it must be the particles in whole wheat flour that give it rather a crumby look.
Additional observations the same day (day 5):
2 hours after the feed: The starter had doubled in size. The best activity so far. No distinct sour smell yet.
3 hours after the feed: The starter reached the lid! Now knowing what to do, I decided to try to mix it well with a fork and hope that it would not rise till morning. No distinct sour smell yet. Forking caused the starter to go back to its size right after the feed.
4 hours after the feed: I was being naive – even I mixed it and it went down to its original size, the Monster did rise and reach the lid again in an hour.
Time to change the jar. I mixed the starter well with a fork, and transferred all of it into a larger jar. Repeated the usual step; cover, wrap, and rest, as before.
5 hours after the feed and 1 hour after moved to a bigger jar: the Monster has doubled in size. Unfortunate that I could not take a picture (battery was charging). It is such a Monster!
6 hours after the feed and 2 hours after moved to a bigger jar: boy, the Monster is at work – it has risen so much 🙂
I cannot wait to see it tomorrow!
Day 6 (added after the post)
Observations at noon: At noon, the starter had collapsed. It smells slightly sour and seeing bubbles were very pleasing. I decided to feed it and use the left-over starter to prepare a levain for sourdough bread.
*This is the only day that I fed the starter twice – one at noon and one at evening (its regular feed time)
Procedure for first feed of the day: Mix well with a fork. I took out 2/3 cups of the starter to prepare the levain. To feed the remaining starter, in a bowl add 2/3 cup whole wheat flour and 1/3 cup water to the remaining starter, mix well with a fork, and transfer back to the jar. Cover, wrap, and rest at room temperature for an additional 6 hours.
Observations prior to the second feed of the day: Six hours after the new feed, the starter had doubled and had nice bubbles. The slight sour smell was there, too. The texture is pretty stiff (i.e. not runny at all, which I kind of like).
*At that point, I decided it was time that I put it in the fridge for future use.
Procedure: Take 1 cup of starter and add 2/3 cups whole wheat flour and 1/3 cup water, mix well, and transfer into a new jar and cover with a piece of cloth. Let it rest at room temperature for 1 hour prior to placing into the fridge.
Observation -3 hours after the fridge: I was right naming this starter “Monster”. Can you believe that this starter is continuing to rise in the fridge???
I love my Monster 🙂
A couple of thoughts.
This was so far the most robust starter.
I am thinking a couple of things may have contributed to it:
My quest to be able to bake the prefect bread continues 🙂
Over-night dough is becoming my favorite. It rises well, consistently makes better breads, and it fits my schedule better. This loaf too is a product of an over-night dough.
1. Add 300 ml warm water, 1 table spoon of sugar, and 0.5 table spoon of dry yeast together; cover with a kitchen towel, and let rest for 10 min.
*I use less yeast for over-night dough. Previously I figured that this amount is more than enough to have a well risen dough. Yet, next time I will increase this amount to see whether I can get a better structured bread with air-holes in it.
**The yeast usually move up to the surface of the mixture and starts metabolizing and foaming on top. In this recipe, there is more water than the yeast can cover, so the foamy top may not fully cover the surface of the bowl – do not despair; it still works.
2. Add to yeast mixture 3.5 cups of all purpose flour and stir with a spoon till it forms a shaggy mixture. Cover and let rest at room temperature for 20 min.
***This step is supposed to help hydrate the dough and start gluten development (i.e. the autolyse step).
3. Knead for 10 min or so until the dough becomes elastic and strong, or if you are like me, stretch and fold every 20-30 min and let rise for a total of 2 hours at room temperature, covered with a kitchen towel (since it is summer, I do not need to use a warm oven this time.). I failed my stretch and fold attempt with this dough – for some reason. I wished I had kneaded it 🙂
4. Cover and place in the fridge. I kept it there around 14 hours. While yeast works better at warm temperatures, it nevertheless slowly continues to strive while in the fridge. The next morning, you should have a fluffy dough looking at you 🙂
5. When you are ready to work on the dough, take it out and rest at room temperature for 1-2 hours. I left mine for 2 hours while I went out for shopping. Upon my return, when I opened the cover, there was a large bubble in the middle. Well, hello you little miraculous yeasties 🙂
6. Mix 1 table spoon of salt with 1 table spoon of water and add to the dough. Take the dough on flour-sprinkled bench, which will deflate the dough (i.e. no need to punch). Lightly work on the dough to shape and let rest on the bench for 10-15 min (covered).
7. For proofing, I used a metal basket and a piece of clean clothe sprinkled with flour. I placed the dough upside down (where the seam is; make sure to close them by pinching the dough. Mine below was quite stubborn 🙂 ), cover lightly, and place either in a large nylon bag (works like a green house) or a warm oven (warmed to 100 F) for an hour, or until it rises again.
8. To transfer the loaf into the oven, I placed a piece of parchment paper on top of the loaf, placed the cookie sheet on top of it, and then turned the entire assembly upside down. Cover and let rest for 10 min.
****I read somewhere yesterday that whenever we “poke” the dough, we must let it rest for 10 min or so. So, for the first time today, I rested the loaf on the parchment paper covered with a kitchen towel. It does make sense to me as there has been some additional rise at the end of this rest 🙂
9. At this point, pre-heat the oven for 400 F.
10. Pet the dough with wet hands and sprinkle sesame seeds on the surface. Score with a sharp knife and bake the loaf in the oven for 40 min.
11. When 40 min is over, turn the oven off and let the loaf sit there for an additional 10 min.
12. I took out the loaf and applied solid butter on the surface. I also sprinkled with generous amount of water to keep it moist, covered it with a kitchen towel till it cooled down, and cut the bread 10 min after I took it out of the oven.
13. Do not forget to enjoy the bread 🙂 I did with a nice chunk of butter. The bread was soft inside and pretty tasty. I just wished I had more air-packets. Next time 🙂
I mentioned earlier that one of my neighbours has left me 4 pots of yard plants a couple of days ago, after an initial talk with her late May.
I saw her today and told her that I was baking a loaf of bread for her 🙂 I just left the loaf in her mail box. Hope she will enjoy.
This is another trial for a dough which is left at the fridge over night. I wish I could see the inside of the loaf I baked today so that I would know how the crumb was. But my overall impression is that it makes great bread with lots of rise and smell, even though the amount of yeast in the recipe is less than usual 🙂 I think this kind of dough also helps me with my busy schedule. So it is my favorite so far 🙂
*While in the fridge, I stretched and folded it a few times only out of curiosity – I do not think it is required.
**I think the dough would take another 1/2 cup of flour – well, next time 🙂
Recipe (1 dessert spoon = 0.8 table spoon)
1. Add 1 cup of warm water and 1 dessert spoon of sugar together, mix well. Add 1/3 dessert spoon of dry yeast. Cover and rest for 15 min.
The yeast was crazy good with a nice foam on top. I think the temperature of the water was just right 🙂
2. Add 2.5 cups of all purpose flour to yeast and mix well with a spoon. My dough was sticky but not “batter-like” like last time. Cover the container and rest the dough at room temperature for 25 min.
3. Stretch and fold 6-8 times and place into a clean bowl covered with 1.5 table spoon of vegetable oil. Turn the dough upside down to make sure it gets oil all over.
4. After 60 min, there was a noticeable rise in the dough and there were bubbles 🙂 Stretch and fold a couple of times. The dough is elastic, and not stiff and not like batter, either. That is pretty good 🙂
5. After another hour of resting in the fridge, the dough has kept its shape, is strong and very elastic, not batter-like at all, and there are some bubbles in it.
Stretching and folding was easy – basically held a corner of the dough and let it hang for a second or two, and repeated this 5-6 corners each side of the dough.
Dough is 100% coherent (i.e. did not break or left pieces around the container).
Because of the oil, it is shinny and I kind of believe that oil helps keep inside humid but may also make it have some kind of stiffness/strength, which is not necessarily bad. I also think that oil helps with the crust somehow.. Gut feeling
6. after the 4th hour at the fridge, dough did rise just a little bit but feels soft and fluffy 🙂 It was exciting 🙂 Stretch and fold was very easy and this time the dough stretched quite a bit. There is a noticeable softness in the dough and 4-5 large bubbles were visible. Happy 🙂 I did not necessarily formed a nice looking ball this time; hope that will be okay 🙂
7. After 18 hours of fridge rest (in the morning), dough has risen and looks fluffy. No stretch and fold this time – I gotta catch the bus 🙂
8. After 21 hours of fridge rest, it looks good.. I added 1 1/3 dessert spoon of salt, stretched and folded and also worked with my hands to have salt integrated. Left at room temperature for 2 hours covered.
9. At the end of the room temperature rest, dough looked fluffy and gas bubbles were detectable. It was a little bit sticky, but on a floured surface I did 4-5 stretch and fold and tried to form surface tension. The surface of the loaf does not look uniform but that should be okay. Bench rest for 10 min covered with a cling film.
10. I am finally at the proofing stage. I placed the loaf in an oven dish covered in a little amount of vegetable oil, covered with a pot lid, placed in a large shopping bag, and proved for 1 hour at an oven warmed to 100 F. I also left the oven lights on – it increases the temperature to around 123 F. that seems to work for me.
11. At the end of proofing, dough looks good and risen. Looks a little bit too juicy :))) Next time I can increase the amount of flour.
I applied whole egg wash carefully and sprinkled the top with sesame seeds and scored. Baking at oven at 375 F (turned on the oven and put the dough in immediately – not pre-heated oven) with 2 cups of hot water in the lower shelf. At 45 min, I sprinkled the surface of the bread with a generous amount of water. Total time in the oven: 1 hour 30 min
12. After I took it out, I applied solid butter on the crust, let rest for 10 min, and then took it out to my neighbours! (she was not there, but at least I tried 🙂 – hope she will remember our conversation earlier this noon and will not be surprised to find the bread in her mail box 🙂
the crust formed really well. I would love to see the crumb, but I could not cut the loaf. I guess my neighbour will have a better idea about it.
Well; the best way to learn how to bake the perfect loaf is learning through trial and error.
This is the best way for me. No matter how many books or blogs I read, my own experiences with baking bread are the best teachers for me.
More than that, I am an experimenter. I would love to follow recipes, but to tell you the truth, I like improvising better; observing the thickness of the dough, the rise of the dough, the oven-spring of the loaf, the crust, taste, and crumb, and all the conditions (warmth while rising/proofing, minutes/hours of waits/rise/baking, amount of ingredients, etc.). And then coming up with conclusions to bake a better bread next time. That is priceless 🙂
So, last week I decided to try an over-night dough recipe – I have got the idea from internet (there are many useful sites out there). They say that while the fridge will slow down the activity of the yeast, the long fermentation (in the fridge) does enrich the taste of the bread. Intrigued, I decided to go for it 🙂
I must say it has been a great learning experience:
Recipe (1 dessert spoon = 0.8 table spoon)
This dough could have been a great flat bread or a pizza dough; crunchy outside, soft and crumby inside – highly recommended 🙂
1. warm 100 ml water and mix with 1 dessert spoon of sugar; mix well. Add 1/3 dessert spoon of yeast – let stand for 15 min. Yeast will start smelling but not necessarily form a foam (only because its quantity is less than regular yeast mixtures. For a same-day bread, I would have used a full dessert spoon of dry yeast)
2. add 2 cups of flour, 75 ml of water, and the yeast mixture – make a very sticky dough (almost like a batter).
3. let rest for 35 min at room temperature (cover the bowl with a kitchen towel)
4. use a dough cutter (or your hands) and stretch and fold it onto itself (repeat for 3-4 min – the dough will be still sticky). This is supposed to help the gluten form and give a structure to the dough. Note the absence of kneading in this recipe.
5. grease a large pot/bowl (with 1.5 table spoon of vegetable oil) and put the dough in. Stretch and fold again to make sure it gets oil all over. Close the lid of the pot or cover it with cling film.
6. keep it in the fridge overnight.
7. the next morning (after 19 hours in the fridge): the dough/batter looks healthy and flattened itself out. It smells great There are noticeable bubbles in it.
8. add 1 table spoon of salt and stretch and fold 7-8 times. Transfer into a clean pot sprinkled with flour. The dough is coherent and sticky, and prior to the stretch and fold there were large bubbles in it (they are removed during the stretch and fold procedure). Sprinkle flour on top, close the lid of the pot, place over a kitchen towel and rest at room temperature for 1.5 hours (to help it reach the room temperature)
9. transfer the dough on a clean surface sprinkled with flour, stretch and fold a couple of times, and form a baton shaped loaf. You may flour the hands and the surface as required, but do not be tempted to add too much flour.
10. bench rest for 10 min (covered)
11. Place the dough in an oven dish sprinkled with a generous amount of cornmeal, [if using cookie sheet like myself; support the loaf on both sides by stretch film-covered long boxes (stretch films better be greased). I would rather recommend using a deep oven dish for this dough if you are aiming for a tall bread…], place everything in a big shopping bag, loosely tie the bag, and put it in a warm oven (warmed to 100 F with lights on), and proof for 1.5 hour.
12. Apply whole egg wash gently without deflating the dough, sprinkle with generous amount of sesame seeds, and score the surface. Remove the supports from the sheet
13. Place 2 cups of boiling water in an oven-safe dish and place in the lower shelf. Bake for 35 min (375F the first 15 min, and then 400 F)
Bon appetite! 🙂
My next door neighbours are great people. She brought me some hand-made clothes; she said she loves knitting them and they are very useful. I was touched and decided to take advantage of being home early and bake a loaf of bread or two for them.
I am still not confident about baking bread. But it is a lot of fun! So, I decided to experiment to bake a loaf that can taste and look good. I prepared one dough and prepared 2 small loafs; one round, one baton (aka “francala”) shaped. The baton bread went to my neighbour and I kept the round one.
The crust of the round loaf was amazing (and crunch), so was the taste! I did not have large holes in the round bread but I hope there were some in the baton – it rose better than the round loaf:)
Recipe (1 dessert spoon = 0.8 table spoon)
1. Warm up 200 ml of water and add 1 dessert spoon of sugar – mix well until all sugar dissolves. Add 1 dessert spoon of dry yeast. Do NOT mix yeast. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rest for 10 min.
2. Add the yeast mixture to 3 cups of all purpose flour. Add 2/3 cups (150 ml) of water and mix with spoon or with your hands until it forms a somewhat sticky but coherent dough.
3. Cover the top of the container (I used a pot and its lid for this purpose), wrap with a kitchen towel and rest for 20 min to autolyse at room temperature.
4. Add 1 table spoon of salt and lightly knead the dough while still in the container (no flour is needed at this step as I aim it to be a soft and not a hearty bread). I noticed that dough become “fragmented” as soon as salt is added – but do not worry; it fixes itself during the process. Work on the dough and give it a round shape.
5. Add 1 table spoon of vegetable oil to a clean pot, spread it around, and put the dough in; then flip the dough over to make sure it gets oil on both sides (top and bottom). Close the lid and put in an oven warmed up to 100 F (I covered the pot with also a kitchen towel).
6. Let rise for 30 min and then stretch and fold 4-5 times and then turn the dough upside down and repeat stretching and folding. Let it rise in the warm oven for another 30 min and stretch and fold again. Put the dough back in the oven and let rise for an additional 30 min.
7. Cut the dough into two (only because I wanted to have two small loafs) on a flour-sprinkled surface. Try not to add more flour and gently shape. Gently press down the bubbles (I had some). Shape, cover with a bowl or kitchen towel and let rest for 10 min.
8. Gently shape again and put in floured dishes for proofing upside-down. Sprinkle some flour on top, wrap loosely with cling film, and cover with a thick blanket on stove (I slightly warmed up the stove to help provide some warmth to dough). Let proof for 45 min
9. Apply egg wash – that is, whisk one egg and brush over the loafs. On one of them I also added sesame seeds. Score carefully using a sharp knife. Place in oven dishes sprinkled with corn meal.
11. boil 1.5 cups of water and place in the lower shelf of the oven in an oven-safe dish (to provide humidity during the bake)
10. bake at a pre-heated oven (400 F) for 45 min. At 30 min I took them out and sprinkled a generous amount of water on top. The round one needed to bake an additional 5 min (its bottom did not get brownish at 45 min)
11. Apply butter on the surface when taken out of the oven and enjoy!
Bon appetite! 🙂
Today’s baking adventure is beef empanadas 🙂
I called it “golden” because of the turmeric in the dough, which turned it into a perfect golden pastry.
Highly recommended if you like puffy and soft dough with a hearty filling and a kick of spices. By the way, this dough was one of the softest I ever made. I kind of thinking if I had added milk instead of water, it could have been way softer. I like this idea 🙂
Recipe (1 dessert spoon = 0.8 table spoon)
Shaping, filling, and baking
Looking for a way to consume left-over veggies or legumes?
Improvise and make up a meal with eggs – eggs make everything delicious 🙂
I love eggs. I know there is a controversy around consuming eggs and risen cholesterol levels – make your own judgement or listen to your doctor (re; eggs).
As part of my “no food waste” policy, I was looking for a way to use whatever I have in my fridge and my pantry and I decided to come up with an oven dish involving green and red lentils, eggs, and celery.
It turned out to be delicious if you like this kind of food combinations. The celery gave a nice crunchy kick and lentils/bread crumbs formed a soft base. Egg, of course, was the glue that held everything together. It also gave a nice taste to this dish.
If the liquid is drained well, it can also be turned into a “patty”, which can be fried or baked in the oven. I love patties yet today I wanted to see whether I can come up with something less greasy and more healthy.
For variety, replace the celery with fresh herbs.
2. add 3 cups of water and boil until they become soft and fluffy. Let rest and cool down 15 min
3. add bread crumbs or flour to have a consistent mix. If the liquid is more than 2/3 cup, you can strain the lentils a little bit and directly work on them without needing flour or the crumbs
4. wash and slice 5 sticks of celery and add to lentils. Add salt and a pinch of black pepper
5. add 3 eggs and mix well.
6. Place everything in an oven dish. Spread vegetable oil on the surface and bake at 350F for 50 min
Bon appetite! 🙂
I decided to make two different types of bread today: One with rosemary leaves and green olive and the other just plain. I so far have not tried plain bread and I would really like it to work out.
It started with the same dough, which later was divided into two loafs.
*1 dessert spoon = 0.8 table spoon
1. Activating the dry yeast: add 1 dessert spoon of white sugar to 1 cup of warm water – mix well with a spoon. Add 1 dessert spoon of yeast, cover with a kitchen towel and wait for 10 min. It should happily bubble and smells gorgeous 🙂
I found that the yeast behave the best if I do not mix them after adding to the water+sugar mix. Any ideas why?
2. Add 2 cups of all purpose flour, 2 cups of whole wheat flour, 1.5 dessert spoon of salt, and 1 cup of water to the yeast mixture and mix well with the help of a spoon. Through the end I had to use my hand as it was a little bit sticky and I wanted it to get the flour in. After that, cover it with a towel and let rest for 20 min to autolyse.
I covered the container with a thick blanket this week – I am trying to see whether it will be enough to rise the dough. If so, I will stop using a warmed oven to rise my dough. Just trying to be self-sustained 🙂
3. Sprinkle a clean surface with flour and knead the dough for 5 minutes. As you go, you will see it will get smoother and also stickier. Add flour as required, but make sure that it does not get too hard. From now on, the first rise will start.
4. Sprinkle flour on a container and put the dough in (I use the same bowl I used to form the dough). Sprinkle some flour on top as well. Cover and keep warm for two hours.
During this time, I used the blanket again to keep the dough warm. This being said, at one point I thought I could put the dough-container still wrapped with the blanket on stove as I was cooking and it was warmer there (to help rise). Long story short, I ended up having a chunk of blanket melted and stuck on the stove!! It is good that I noticed 🙂 This was the misadventure # 1 for today 🙂
During this step, every 30 min (three times total) I took the dough out and applied the stretch and fold technique. Basically, I assumed the dough had 4 corners. I grabbed a corner of the dough and stretched as far as I could (gently) and then stuck it in back to the dough. I then repeated this with 3 other corners of the dough.
I have the pictures of the dough before each stretch and fold application:
5. Take the dough on a clean surface sprinkled with flour. The dough was sticky so I added a small amount of flour, lightly mixed it in, and then cut the dough into two.
a) I shaped the plain dough in a francala shape and placed on wax paper and supported on both sides by two long boxes. I then placed the entire stuff in a large nylon bag, loosely tied up the bag, and placed it in an oven warmed to 103 F with lights on.
b) I added the olive and rosemary into the dough. I thought they would mix well but no; they did not – misadventure #2. So I rather placed everything inside the dough and formed a round loaf. I placed this loaf in a bowl upside down that was covered by cling wrap sprinkled with flour. In the absence of shaping baskets, I thought that would work 🙂 I covered it with a towel and placed in the warm oven.
Rise the dough for 1 hour in the warm oven.
6. Take the loafs out and re-shape them gently again.
a) The francala had stuck on the wax paper – misadventure #3, so I literally had to drag it onto a cornmeal coated oven dish. Poor thing….
b) the olive and rosemary loaf looked good 🙂 I put it on a cornmeal-coated oven dish (upside down).
7) Score the surfaces as you like. I then brushed them with vegetable oil – for the round loaf I also applied it to the sides as it looked like the dough would expand and stick. For a lazy and careless baker, I am proud of myself for coming up with this idea 🙂 I sprinkled the francala with a few sesame and nigella seeds.
8. Heat the oven to 375 F and place some hot water in another contained (to provide steam during the baking – I hope it did work). Place the loafs in and bake for 1 hour. During this period, I sprinkled a generous amount of water on top of both loafs three times.
9. Turn of the oven and apply butter stick on both loafs – it melts as it touches them. Then I left the loafs for an additional 5 min in the oven.
Bon appetite! 🙂
My love for bread-making is continuing 🙂
I was excited the whole week about my next bread trial. I wanted to give the soda bread a try this time. This recipe does not require yeast or wait-times for rising; so if you are looking for a yummy breakfast bread, I would highly recommend this one or any other soda bread.
After the success of the cheddar+parsley combination I tried earlier, I decided to improvise a soda bread with these ingredients. It ended up being quite delicious and softer than I thought it would be. The cheese when melted and together with parsley gave a yummy taste to this soda bread.
Here it is 🙂
While I had opted out for baking my next bread using baking powder, my mom encouraged me to try the yeast again.
Later I almost decided not to, but eventually came to my senses (I would have to figure out how to bake nutritious breads with yeast anyhow).
So here is today’s baking adventure 🙂
1 dessert spoon = 0.8 table spoon
Add 1 dessert spoon of white sugar to a 1 cup of warm water – stir well. Add 1 dessert spoon of dry active yeast. Do not mix and let it stand for 10 min. It should start bubbling and form a foam on top.
Previously I used to mix the yeast with sugar and water with the help of a spoon, which did not work out well. This time, with this technique, I could see the foam on top, telling that the yeast is activated 🙂
1) Add 1.5 cup of all purpose flour, 1.5 cup of whole wheat flour, 1 dessert spoon of salt, and 3 dessert spoon of olive oil. Mix with a spoon..
2) Add the yeast mixture and mix the dough with spoon until it becomes a rough but coherent dough.
3) Cover with a kitchen towel and let rest for 20 min.
I admit that I was trying to do an “autolyse” step, which helps with gluten formation and ease of kneading later. It looks like I did not remember it correctly, though – they say the yeast should NOT be added at that step. But I have.. Should I sigh or be okay with it?
4) Sprinkle flour on a clean surface to start working on the dough.
The dough was sticky so I needed to use some extra flour to make it non-sticky, soft and smooth.
Knead for 4 minutes.
You will notice that as time goes on, it will become stickier again (I guess kneading helps move water within the dough). Apply little amounts of flour but do not over-saturate the dough.
5) Apply olive oil (or any other type) to the mixing bowl and place the dough in. Add *3/4 cups of sunflower seeds and mix until it becomes a uniform mixture. Cover with a thick kitchen towel and place in an oven with lights on. Let rise for **1.5 hours.
*The amount of seeds looked quite a lot at the beginning… But later turned out to be just right 🙂
**At 45 min, I noticed that the dough was not rising well. This can be mostly because a) it contains whole wheat flour that is difficult to rise, and b) the environment was not warm enough. So I turned on the oven till it reaches 102 F and then turned it off immediately. I let the dough rise for another 45 min (with the towel and the oven lights still on) in this warmer environment.
PS: I guess I should have been more liberal with the oil and cover the entire dough with it (lightly) to prevent dehydration during the rising process. I will do that next time.
6) *Lightly “punch” the dough down to get the gas out of it. Put on a floured surface.
*There should be some rising that has happened and when you punch it down, you should see it returning to its original size. And that is okay 🙂
The dough was sticky and I added a little amount of flour on my hands and the top of the dough.
Gently **stretch and fold for 4-5 times.
**This technique is done while the dough is raising to help with dough formation, but I felt like this can be a good alternative to kneading at this stage. Improvised – good or bad I am not sure. Hey, I am experimenting 🙂
7) Shape the dough and put in a greased baking dish. Score the surface of the dough as you wish and let it rise for another 45 min at the oven (with lights on and covered with a towel). It does rise 🙂
8) Mix an egg and brush the surface of the dough. Bake at 375 F for 1 hour.
I applied generous amounts of (around 20 ml) of water to the surface of the bread 3 times during the baking process, starting at the end of the initial 30 min. I repeated that when I took it out of the oven, too. I believe that helps with a rather moist bread.
9) Take out, admire the scenery, and let it cool for 10 min. Then slice and enjoy with butter or jam and a cup of nice tea! 🙂